Iran issued warnings today that they regard the Strait of Hormuz as their territorial waters and that a US ship that exited into the Strait into the Gulf of Oman had better not return to the Persian Gulf - or else.
“We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf,” said Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, the commander in chief of the army, as reported by Iran’s official news agency, IRNA. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will not repeat its warning.”
The ship General Salehi was talking about is the aircraft carrier the USS John C. Stennis.
The warning was accompanied by a statement from a senior member of Iran's majlis (parliament) Nader Qazipour, reported in Iran's FARS News Agency that any foreign warships trying to pass through the Strait of Hormuz without Iranian consent should be stopped, as Iran considers the Strait part of its territorial waters rahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifther than a freely passable international waterway :
"If the military vessels and warships of any country want to pass via the Strait of Hormoz without coordination and permission of Iran's Navy forces, they should be stopped by the Iranian Armed Forces," Nader Qazipour told FNA, explaining about the contents of the plan.
In relevant remarks on Monday, another Iranian legislator stressed that Iran will use all its capabilities and possibilities to defend the country against foreign threats and the country will use the Strait of Hormoz as a defensive tool and will close the waterway if it comes under threat.
"Iran will definitely use the defensive potential of the Strait of Hormoz if it is faced with threats," Rapporteur of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazzem Jalali told FNA.
The bellicose saber rattling has a purpose, of course.
In the midst of all of this, the Iranians suddenly announced that they're willing to entertain talks again on their nuclear program with the UN 5+1 (the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) due to the wonderful non-results that occurred last time.
It's the carrot and stick game the Mullahs have played so successfully in the past,and its one purpose is to buy time for Iran to complete its nuclear weapons and delivery systems.
President Obama bought into this big time. He reluctantly ( his own words) finally signed tough sanctions passed by Congress against Iran into law that target their central bank and would make it difficult for them to process their oil payments.
The only problem is, they're meaningless because of how the Senate Democrats watered them down. Not only don't they take effect for six months, but President Obama has the wiggle room not to apply them if he judges doing so would not be in US interest.
There's no question in my mind that President Obama will almost certainly bend over again, swallow hard and engage with Iran. It's also almost a certainty the US will not enforce any sanctions while talks are going on, let alone any military action. And of course,Russia will see to it that the proposed talks go absolutely nowhere except to a highly watered down policy statement the Mullahs will use for toilet paper.
This is indeed a very bad time for America to have a leader like President Obama at the helm of the ship of state.